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STORIES AND SKETCHES FROM PACIFIC COUNTY
[Isaac H. Whealdon is an old settler in the Willapa country. For
the benefit of posterity he has written down these stories and sketches,
which, through his friend, T. C. Elliott of Walla Walla, he has trans-
mitted to the Washington Historical Quarterly. After this article was in
type news was received that the aged pioneer author met a tragic death
near Willapa on June 15, 1913. — Editor.]
The Sunset-Pacific Monthly has in its issue for May, 1912, an
article on the Tomanowos rose and how it came into existence. This com-
munication by Samuel M. Evans is introduced by a beautiful legend —
The Breath of the Chinook — and this legend brings to my memory one
related to me by an old Indian named Matil.
A long, long time ago there was no peninsula or bay or Indians, but
one day there came from the siah cold illahee [far cold country] a big
canoe with a hundred warriors with their klootchmen and papooses.
They tried to enter die Columbia, but hiyu winds, hiyu skookum pe-wake,
yaka charco copa [but great strong winds prevented an entrance] Colum-
bia. So they paddled ashore just where the hill and rocks terminate at the
south end of what is now the peninsula. Here they moored their big
canoe, tying the stern to the rocks at the south and anchoring her bow
to the north. Caching their paddles and other things in a cave in the
rocks, they took the old Indian trail for the Columbia river and what is
now old Chinook.
After many moons they returned, charco miami, halo, kanim. Yaka
nanich okok kanim yaka clatawa keekwulee icta tenas sandspit. No,
there was not a sign of their canoe, only they found a little sandspit with
a clam bed and the ocean on the west. A few small pine trees grew on
top. At the east were some bushes with hiyu olallies of a bright red color.
These were cranberries. A little father out to the east, tenas siah mitlite
tenas chuck. This was only a little water, but 'tis now Whealdon's Pond
or Black Lake. When the Indians saw this they built a house on their
sand sunken canoe and their children grew and multiplied and as the
tribe grew so grew the tiny sandspit and a little bay was formed which
became a mighty water. So from the big canoe grew the peninsula and
the bay and from the one hundred Indians grew the Shoalwater tribe.
188 Isaac H. Whealdon
There used to be an Indian about Oysterville some forty years
back, who was undoubtedly of the royal family.
This young man was, for his chance in life, very intelligent; he had
quite a little farm cleared up and in cultivation, and had planted a nice
little orchard. It was situated on the place now owned by Mr. John
Hill, a little above the NaseJ Landing and known as the I. H. Whealdon
But to our story — I once asked Acelan about the earliest account
the Indians had of the first white men to visit our bay, and this is the
story he told:
"Ahncuttie ict tenas schooner, yaka charco siah copa cold illahee" —
(a long time ago a little schooner came from a cold country far to the
She hove to, just outside our bar, lowered away a whale boat and
manned it with "toltum tillicums" (110 men), pulled over the bar into
what was first called Lighthouse Cove, but now North Cove, which was
then a fine landlocked harbor.
It was "tenas sun" (early morning) when they crossed, so they
remained here all that day, trading with the Indians for fish, clams, and
deer and elk meat. Acelan said they seemed to be "hias hungry," he
also told that they had very long beards and said they were neither Boston
nor King George men. That they were "Lushan Tillicums,' 'and no
doubt they were Russians and the vessel none other than the "Juno,"
bought by Count Von Baranoff from Captain De Wolf, an American
who sailed into Sitka. Rizanoff and his garrison at Sitka castle were
starved out in the winter of 1815-6 and started in the "Juno" for the
Columbia river, but then, as now, the water was rough, and so only
their whale boat entered and got supplies from the Indians who have
always been good and kind to the whites.
This, in brief, was Acelan's account as handed down to him by the
Indians of the first white men to enter Willapa Harbor.
The first white man to permanently locate on land in Pacific County
was John E. Pickernell. He settled at the mouth of the Wallicut river,
probably about the year 1842. He has told me that the only man,
at that time, who spoke the English language with whom he met was a
negro named Saul, who was living nearly where the officers' quarters now
stand at Fort Canby.
Stories and Sketches 1 89
The first vessel to enter Shoalwater Bay for oysters was the barque
"Equity," commanded by Captain Hansen. The ill fated brig, "Robert
Bruce," came before Hansen with the "Equity." She arrived at Bruce-
port December II, 1851. Her officers consisted of: John Morgan, cap-
tain; Sam Winneat, first mate; Thomas Foster, second mate; and for
crew, Dick Hilliard, Mark Wineat, Frank Garitson and Dick Millwood.
But this vessel took out no oysters, as she was set afire by the cook, an
Italian, who escaped in the small boat and was never heard of again.
The officers and crew were taken off the burning vessel by the Indians.
They landed on the south side of North Shoalwater Bay and founded
Bruceport. The first shipment of oysters was made by Captain Morgan
and Sam Wineat in the schooner "Equity" about May 12, 1852.
Captain Weldon located at Hawks' Point on the north side of North
Shoalwater Bay, just west of the mouth of North river, in the year 1 852.
With him came Captain Crocker and V. S. Riddell. Weldon got out
and shipped to California a cargo of piling on the barque "Palus" with
himself as master of the vessel. This was the first shipment of lumber of
any kind from our county. Weldon commenced the construction of a
water mill in Smith's creek in 1853, but this mill was never finished.
Pacific City was platted in 1851 by J. D. Holman, who
settled in 1850. E. G. Loomis and another man, whose name
has escaped me. But before the plat was made Mr. Holman had com-
pleted a fine and substantial hotel of one hundred rooms. This hotel,
however, was afterward burned by United States troops, Mr. Holman re-
ceiving indemnity from the government. E. G. Loomis, Mr. Holman,
and the other individuals built at Pacific City the first steam saw mill ever
built in Pacific County. It was afterward moved to the John Crellins
Donation Claim, near Nahcotta.
Captain James Johnson, the first Columbia river bar pilot, settled at
Whealdonsburg, that is, Ilwaco, in the year 1848 and was drowned
off the Columbia river bar by the capsizing oi his pilot sloop in the year
The first court convened in Pacific County was held at Chinook in the
spring of 1853, and was presided over by Judge Monroe, a Kentuckian,
appointed by President Pierce. Court was held in Job Lamley's dwelling
house. Job Lamley, first sheriff of our county, had the summoning of
the first jury. Many years afterward he gave me their names as he then
recalled them to his memory: John Mildrum, foreman; Henry Feister,
who was our first representative and county clerk; E. G. Loomis; William
Edwards, who was afterward murdered by Indians; Hiram Brown; John
190 Isaac H. Whealdon
V. Pickernell; Henry Neese and Thomas Martin. All that was done
at this term of court was that the grand jury found two true bills.
As our first representative, J. W. Cruthers was elected, but died be-
fore taking his oath of office. Then Henry Feister took the place, but fell
dead just as he was stepping up to the bar to take the oath of office.
Finally James C. Strong was elected and served his full term, thus really
making him Pacific County's first representative in the state legislature.
The first salmon cannery in this county was built at Chinook by
Ellis, Jewett and Chambers in the year 1870, J. G. Megler joining
them in 1871.
The first salmon packed in salt was put up by Patrick J. McGowan
in 18,54, and was shipped in the "Jane A. Falkenburg." This last date
may be wrong.
ISAAC H. WHEALDON.